Asian Cuisine, Chef Him Uy de Baron, JJ Yulo, KF Seetoh, Makansutra, Makansutra Manila, street hawker food
If you’ve been to Singapore, you may have heard of Makansutra — that outdoor dining area in what is called Glutton’s Bay by the Esplanade Mall of the Marina, overlooking part of the F1 “racetrack” on Raffles Avenue. It was put together and put up by Singapore’s “Guru of Grub”, K.F. Seetoh, and named after his Singapore hawker food guide book of the same name. You may have heard of him? He had a TV food show on TLC called “The Food Surprise” where he’d raid and ambush restaurants all over Asia, including the Philippines, to find the best food that these offer. At the Makansutra hawker food center, you’ll find stalls which feature both classic and new street food by select purveyors. Even Gerry’s Grill is there! But you don’t have to fly to Singapore to give it a try.
Makansutra is now in the Philippines! This famed hawker center was set up in partnership with a group of young Filipino investors, foremost of whom are our own local gurus of grub, the inimitable and affable JJ Yulo (Pinoy Eats World, Supermanly Eats) and Chef Him Uy de Baron (East Cafe in Rustan’s Makati, Nomama). It opened just this September at the 2nd floor of SM Megamall’s Building A, with about a dozen food stalls and a beverage/snack station, all in a large space that can seat as many as 500 people.
There are at least over 60 dishes to choose from. (Which is the reason why I must go back — My tummy could handle only 5 dishes at a time, haha.) Simply too many delicious hawker/street food dishes from all over Asia to sample — from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Hong Kong and China, Thailand, and the Philippines. One visit is simply not enough. Ah Tee’s famous Oyster Omelet, Geylang’s Chicken Claypot Rice, Hong Kong Street Old Chun Kee’s delicious Salted Egg Pork, Donald & Lily’s Crispy Tofu and their Mee Siam with Prawns. And, of course, there has to be the classic Singaporean Chicken Rice, Chili Crabs, Braised Duck, Satay, Bak Kut Teh, Laksa… and so on. And I like that none of the dishes have been “Filipinized” or tweaked to suit Filipino tastes. From what I gather, they are true to their culinary roots and are as authentic as can be. All pretty reasonably priced, too!
What I know for sure? This is just the first leg of my food trip. I’m going back to Makansutra for another “tour”!
p.s. Thank you to RJ Celdran for sharing his Salted Egg Pork and Shiok photos.